Florida — Florida is expected to have its smallest orange crop in 16 years because of a winter cold snap and lingering hurricane stress, the federal government said Thursday.
The Department of Agriculture predicted 135 million boxes of oranges, down from an already-low 147.9 million boxes produced last year. Before two nasty hurricane seasons, the state was averaging about 220 million boxes, each weighing 90 pounds. Orange juice prices are already up about 9 percent from last year.
The Agriculture Department attributed this year's lower forecast to cold temperatures in mid-February that interrupted the bloom period and lingering stress from last year's Hurricane Wilma.